Record Levels of Foodbank Provision
The Trussell Trust foodbank netwwork, of which Ealing Foodbank is a part, provided almost 1.2 million batches of three-day food and basic supplies in the past year. These are the highest figures on record. The Trust has linked increasing demand with the rollout of the universal credit benefits reform, in particular, with delays in benefits, increasing debt and a culture of insecure employment.
The food bank charity reports that more than 400,000 of the recipients were children. Official figures published last month show that most child poverty is now concentrated in working families. More than two-thirds of children classified as living in poverty are in families where at least one parent is working - the highest levels on record.
Another report, by The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, warns too many children have to survive on crisps and energy drinks when school kitchens are closed. One group had to drop out of a summer football scheme because they had not eaten a meal in days, its report says.
According to the report, children at risk of holiday hunger include an estimated
Evidence during the two-month long inquiry to the group, included children reported to have vomited from lack of food, while others were being fed flavoured water or cereal as their parents could not afford proper meals for them.
Fairtrade Bananas - Do they make a difference?
Assisted Dying Bill
Was debated on the 11th September 2015 and defeated in the House of Commons by a majority of 73%m mostly on account of the lack of safeguards that the Bill contained, to protect the vulnerable.
CAFOD's Expensive New Building: The Facts
Reply from Hannah Caldwell,CAFOD Supporter Relations Assistant to a personal emai asking how CAFOD can justify the expense of their new building against their stated aim of getting as much help to the poor as possible.
Dear X, Thanks very much for your email regarding CAFOD’s new premises.
We have now been based at Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, adjacent to St Georges Cathedral since May 2010. CAFOD had been in its offices in Brixton for 28 years. When we moved there in 1982 there were 26 staff and at the time it was hoped that the building in Brixton would meet medium term future needs, which it has done.
As you know CAFOD has grown significantly. When we left there we had a staff count of approximately 243 and the old buildings were becoming difficult and expensive to maintain. CAFOD’s investment in a new building ensured that we could continue to be efficient and economical well into the future. It would not have been as cost effective to rent. Owning the new building meant that we did not have to spend money on rent. We have the building as an investment which could be sold if necessary.
The new building cost £11.5m. The sale of the existing offices has raised £4.5m and is expected to eventually total over £5 million towards this. If CAFOD had rented a building, this would have been an on-going cost of approximately £1 million a year. As we believed it would be inappropriate to appeal for funds for the new building from supporters, CAFOD’s Trustees agreed that the remaining cost of the building after sale of the old buildings was to be financed through CAFOD’s contingency fund that was held in our bank. Essentially we have converted some of our cash assets into assets in the shape of bricks and mortar. We did not divert any future donations or cut any future funding from our work.
The new building has been designed to be as environmentally sound as possible within our budget. BREEAM is the world's most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings, and CAFOD’s building has been rated as ‘excellent’, the highest possible grade. The new building will give us a real opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and be better stewards of resources through more efficient use of space. The ‘credit crunch’ has not affected CAFOD’s move to the new building as we did not borrow any money and we agreed a fixed-price cost for the construction of the building, which did not change regardless of the financial climate.
Should the UK recession dramatically affect CAFOD’s income in the future, then we have the option to recover some of our income through renting out the extra space that our new building has provided. We did look at several possibilities but were unable to locate a suitable and affordable building to buy. Our calculations showed that the most cost effective option was to build. Additionally, moving to the Southwark Cathedral site meant that we were able to reinvest in the Catholic community.
I hope that you appreciate the reasons behind why we had to move. The old situation was far from ideal; having staff operating from three different sites. One of those was a listed building and meant we are unable to make best use of the space. In addition to increased costs of maintaining the old buildings; a new roof would have been necessary if we had stayed. In the same way that those who made the decisions to move to the Brixton site 29 years ago looked ahead and invested accordingly; we have invested in a resource for CAFOD to benefit from for at least another 30 years.
We believe the new building has helped CAFOD become even more efficient, reduced our environmental impact and enabled us to continue our work to overcome poverty and injustice. We feel this fits in with the LiveSimply challenge to live simply, sustainably, and in solidarity with the poor. I hope this information goes some way to addressing your concerns. If you have any further questions please feel free to get back in touch. Many thanks for your support of CAFOD, it is truly appreciated and makes a real difference to improving the lives of those living in poverty in developing countries. ;